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Rhonda Rousey vs Holly Holmes

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#1
So, we don't see a lot of MMA talk in here. I wonder if I'm the only one who follows it very much.

So, Rhonda Rousey has been the latest star for women's MMA. She's an olympic judo bronze medalist, and has been undefeated in the ring since her 2010 debut. She's also done some acting in Expendables 3 and Furious 7.

Saturday, she was paired up with Holly Holmes, an olympic silver-medalist boxer, who later went on to win titles professionally in the sport. After boxing, Holmes also won a welterweight title in IKF kickboxing.

Holmes knocked Rousey out in the 2nd round with a roundhouse kick to the chin/neck.

My own opinion: Rousey has been massively overhyped, and lately, it seems like she's been drinking her own koolade. In 2014, she started feuding with Floyd Mayweather, claiming she could take him in a fight. Even her former manager has said she's turned into a monster.

Because she seriously believes she's the best, I think she underestimated and under-trained for the Holmes fight. Rhonda's signature attack is to rush to the clinch, get the takedown, perform an armbar, and it's clear that Holmes trained hard to counter that particular combination. In comparison, it seems that Rousey didn't consider Holmes' boxing to be anything to worry about.

But if you can't take the opponent to the ground, you gotta fight them on your feet. And you don't beat an olympic boxing medalist at their own game when your own boxing looks like this:

 
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#2
Right before the KO, Rousey went in with a grapple on Holmes, and the way Holmes dodged away was a joy to behold. Rousey grabbed nothing but air, and it noticeably threw her off.
 
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#3
Honestly I think a lot of her hype was pretty solid. She was not only winning, but dominating her opponents. I think you're right about her not taking it as seriously as she might have in the past, but it's of course just speculation on our part.
 
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#4
Right before the KO, Rousey went in with a grapple on Holmes, and the way Holmes dodged away was a joy to behold. Rousey grabbed nothing but air, and it noticeably threw her off.
Yup...Holmes saw it coming a mile away, because Rhonda was getting exhausted and resorting to wild telegraphed moves.

The whole first half of the first round was all about Holmes running away from Rhonda. I figured that Holmes just wasn't ready for a title fight--she'd only had 2 underwhelming MMA matches under her belt. But as the round developed, it was clear that the running was her game plan to tire Rousey out.

Rhonda is used to fast matches where she overwhelms her opponent after an initial charge. She's not used to conserving her energy. By the 2nd half of the round, Rhonda was already dropping her hands and putting her chin up--both signs of fatigue and very bad things when you're facing a striker.

On the other hand, even with the energy she was expending, Holmes was springy, fresh, and had that bouncy boxer's energy. That left her free to pick and choose her targets and keep her mind focused and on the game. Rhonda just got more and more wild and desperate as the fight went on.

Some neat things I noticed in the first round: Those weird kicks that the announcers call "oblique kicks", but that I learned as "jart kicks." You don't see those much, and it was gratifying to see them used to good effect. Also, in the first round, Holmes executed a beautiful elbow wrap on Rousey that I learned in kung fu, but that many MMA folks would call unworkable or impractical. I have been scouring the internet all morning looking for a full video of the fight that hasn't had a copyright claim against it, just so I can make a gif animation of that one technique.
 

Dave

Staff member
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#5
If you look at her weigh-ins you'll see that she'd gained some weight and lost definition. Just my opinion, but I think she might have bought into the hype a little and went Rocky Balboa.
 
#6
for such a big fan, you don't know how to spell the name of anyone involved in the latest main event.

also Rousey posted a sandy hook truther video with "interesting" so I don't have much sympathy for her, and she sucked in Fast 7.
 
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#7
Honestly I think a lot of her hype was pretty solid. She was not only winning, but dominating her opponents. I think you're right about her not taking it as seriously as she might have in the past, but it's of course just speculation on our part.
I think dominating your opponents in 8 matches deserves a certain amount of hype/respect.

I think going beyond that to claiming you would "ragdoll" Mayweather is too much. They started calling her "most dominant athlete in the world" after only 8 fights (though now she's had 12 including the Holmes fight)--that's premature hype. Especially when you consider that other fighters, like Cat Zingano have/had a very similar record.[DOUBLEPOST=1447689550,1447689479][/DOUBLEPOST]
for such a big fan, you don't know how to spell the name of anyone involved in the latest main event.
Fuck off, Charlie.

[No name calling, please.]
 
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#8
I don't follow MMA, but was getting so tired of seeing Rousey everywhere. TV commercials, movies (as Tin mentioned), even interviews on ESPN.

I saw one before the last fight where it was Rousey and another female fighter where the hosts talked to Rhonda 95% of the time and you could see the other one sitting there wondering why she was even on the show.
 
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#9
I think Connor Ruebusch's breakdown of the fight is actually spectacular.

TL;DR version: Holm isn't normally a power puncher, but Holm perfectly used Rousey's tendency to charge straight in to snap punches that rocked Rousey all the way to her toes. Holm has never been a great grappler, but she used a couple very excellently timed grapples that worked just well enough to keep the fight standing. Also, Rousey has a terrible coach. He had no clue why Holm was winning every exchange when any who has studied striking at all saw it within 30 seconds.

Side note: holy hell, that fight with Joanna Champion and LeTourneau was a barn-burner.
 
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#10
I'm curious to see how her stock changes now that she's lost. Part of her hype came from how marketable she was. Now that's she's no longer the unstoppable champion of UFC, will WWE still want her for example? I think yes is that case, but much like horse racing after the Kentucky Derby winner loses the Preakness, I suspect the general sports population will just stop caring.
 
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#11
Fuck off, Charlie.

[No name calling, please.]
Sorry mod. At least you didn't have to look far in the thesaurus to find a neutral equivalent ;)

Back to the topic at hand--Holms had two relatively underwhelming fights once moving to the UFC promotion. Both fights ended by decision (one of them split), but she has a 10 and 0 record overall.

http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Holly-Holm-75125

Watching her 2014 MMA highlights, she looks dangerous but not spectacular. She was fighting on a whole other level on Saturday. I'm interested in seeing if she can keep up the momentum and if she can stay just as hungry in future fights as she was in this one.
 
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#12
I haven't been following this at all (and frankly was getting a little tired of hearing about it...when your coworkers start talking about Rousey more than about football? Yeah...no), but it sounds like you're saying Rousey had become the female Mike Tyson?

--Patrick
 
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#13
I dunno about that. Hyped like Tyson, but without the record or skill to show for it. People who are serious about martial arts have been saying Rousey had holes in her punching game for years.

Now, I don't want to make it seem like I'm dogging on her. She's definitely a skilled competitor, and she's prevailed against other skilled competitors. But at 12 matches in, it's a little soon to proclaim her the next goddess of women's MMA. Here are the records of the people she fought in the ring (at the time that she fought them..Most of those numbers have changed since then).

In the order in which she fought them.
Ediane Gomes - 7w 1l
Charmaine Tweet 0w, 0L - Rousey was 1st fight
Sarah D'Alelio - 4w 1l
Julia Budd - 2w 1l
Miesha Tate - 12w 2l
Sarah Kaufman - 15w 1l
Liz Carmouche - 8w 2L
Miesha Tate (2nd rousey fight)- 13w 4l
Sara McMann - 7w 0l
Alexis Davis - 16w 5l
Cat Zingano - 9w 0l
Bethe Correia - 9w 0l

So, yeah, she started off fighting some pretty inexperienced folks, but as she kept winning, they threw tougher opponents at her. She definitely has game. But it doesn't really live up to the insane amount of hype she's been getting the last year or so. On this same list, we have other women who fought 8, 10, 14 fights before their first loss. Without the same hype.

It may be impolitic for me to say, but I think a lot of the hype owes to the "bro" factor: Rousey's not too hard on the eyes. She's not a supermodel, but she's not bad. A lot of female MMA fighters look a lot more mannish or dikey by comparison. (And, I hate to pick on Cyborg, but she's a good example of what I mean.) The last time I saw this level of hype building around a female MMA fighter was Gina Carano, another good looking fighter.

In the mid 2000's, Carano was called "the face of women's MMA", was featured in an issue of an ESPN magazine, was called one of the "top influential women of 2008", and was basically women's MMA golden child--on the strength of a 7 and 0 record. Decent, but not spectacular. But she sure cleaned up nice. And she received a ton of attention and hype, beyond what other similarly skilled competitors received.

Carano lost to Cyborg, and never fought in MMA again.

There are women out there with much more impressive fight records that don't get the hype that these two got. They were over-hyped, and the fall was inevitable. Nobody's invincible.

Incidentally, Cyborg has a record of 14:1. And that first loss was her first fight of her career. But really, who outside of MMA fans has even heard of her?
 
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#14
Hyped like Tyson, but without the record or skill to show for it.
Hyped, yes, but I meant how Tyson would usually win in the first couple of rounds, or not at all. He had sooooo much power, but he would spend it all in the beginning and then be out of gas if his opponent managed to survive/evade.

--Patrick
 
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#15
Hyped, yes, but I meant how Tyson would usually win in the first couple of rounds, or not at all. He had sooooo much power, but he would spend it all in the beginning and then be out of gas if his opponent managed to survive/evade.

--Patrick
I think it'll take a few more losses and a few longer bouts to really assess all of her weaknesses, but yeah, Rousey looks like she lacks endurance at the moment. If she's smart, she'll work on improving that.
 
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#16
Incidentally, Cyborg has a record of 14:1. And that first loss was her first fight of her career. But really, who outside of MMA fans has even heard of her?
While true, it doesn't help that she got busted for steroids. The MMA-powers-that-be never liked her that much in the first place because she beat Carano, and they were super happy to actually have a legit reason to be able to dismiss her out of the spotlight without having to give her a fight with Rousey (admittedly, there was the whole argument over weight classes, but even so).[DOUBLEPOST=1447701061,1447700745][/DOUBLEPOST]
I think it'll take a few more losses and a few longer bouts to really assess all of her weaknesses, but yeah, Rousey looks like she lacks endurance at the moment. If she's smart, she'll work on improving that.
I'm not convinced its endurance at all. She spent 3 rounds dumping Miesha Tate on her head, and has never before once looked any less strong or fast than any of her opponents. This is the only fight where we've seen her flag at all, and it came with about two dozen face punches that she flat out ran into first (and 6 or 7 knees to the body). To suggest that she lost because she gassed would seem to be to take a lot of credit away from Holm.
 
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#17
While true, it doesn't help that she got busted for steroids. The MMA-powers-that-be never liked her that much in the first place because she beat Carano, and they were super happy to actually have a legit reason to be able to dismiss her out of the spotlight without having to give her a fight with Rousey (admittedly, there was the whole argument over weight classes, but even so).[DOUBLEPOST=1447701061,1447700745][/DOUBLEPOST]

I'm not convinced its endurance at all. She spent 3 rounds dumping Miesha Tate on her head, and has never before once looked any less strong or fast than any of her opponents. This is the only fight where we've seen her flag at all, and it came with about two dozen face punches that she flat out ran into first (and 6 or 7 knees to the body). To suggest that she lost because she gassed would seem to be to take a lot of credit away from Holm.
I'm not sure that Rousey's not on the juice herself. Her face is a lot more square and meaty than it used to be. I used to say the same thing about Barry Bonds--there's only one way I know of to build up muscles on your head. And it ain't with weights. But that's just my opinion.

Industry insiders guesstimate that about 85% or so MMA competitors are on steroids. They're in practically every single sporting event there is. I'm not that concerned about it. Strength gives you a certain kind of advantage, but raw strength won't get you out of a triangle choke, and steroids don't teach you how to do an arm bar.

As for the endurance comment, I did not mean to diminish Holly's accomplishment at all. Her whole fight plan was to keep on her feet and avoid grappling, hit Rousey in the face as much as she could, and gas her out. Rousey said as much herself during her Jimmy Fallon interview. She executed it well, and it won her the fight.

Watching the Tate fight, you can see Rousey getting just as tired and having the same problems--dropping her hands, becoming slower to react, punches losing power. But Tate's mostly a grappler, and when she did strike, stuck in there toe-to-toe and didn't make Rousey chase her.


You can't watch that (Tate fight round 2) and not see the same exhaustion and mistakes. Tate just did not/could not capitalize on it. Props to Holm for doing so.
 
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#18
Industry insiders guesstimate that about 85% or so MMA competitors are on steroids. They're in practically every single sporting event there is. I'm not that concerned about it. Strength gives you a certain kind of advantage, but raw strength won't get you out of a triangle choke, and steroids don't teach you how to do an arm bar.
Of course, I just meant that Cyborg actually getting busted is a huge reason why no one knows who she is outside of serious fans - the big money hated her and it provided the best excuse to bury her.

As for the endurance comment, I did not mean to diminish Holly's accomplishment at all. Her whole fight plan was to keep on her feet and avoid grappling, hit Rousey in the face as much as she could, and gas her out. Rousey said as much herself during her Jimmy Fallon interview. She executed it well, and it won her the fight.
Yeah, but I don't think anyone was expecting her to not actually get to the "gas her out part". She beat Rousey before that point.

I think it is critical to keep a clear difference between "fighter gets tired because they're all explosion and no gas" and "fighter gets tired because they got hit in the face and body a lot". It's like when people said that Conor McGregor only beat Chad Mendes because Mendes gassed. I'm sure the short camp didn't help at all, but I'm reasonably sure that Mendes lost all his steam and stamina because CMG kept body-punching and side-kicking him in the mid-section, and then punched him in the face really, really hard a few times.
 
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#21
https://streamable.com/4pyk

This video dogs on Rousey more than I would personally support, but I'm posting it because it highlights that dodge that @bhamv3 likes so much.

And while GB's post is funny, it's not accurate. Holm got tagged in the face a few times as she made lateral left moves, by Rousey's lunging left hook. But, being an experienced boxer, she shrugged them off without a problem.
 
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#22
That highlights one thing that I find really weird about MMA. A lot of folks in the sport still don't slip or use their shoulders to defend their chins very well. It was one thing back when the sport was all brawling grapplers and so-called "wrestle-boxers" and pure strikers were getting pounded into the ground, but the game is much more 3-dimensional now, and there's a lot of fighters who have developed very competent offensive striking but somehow have notably bad defensive fundamentals (Holm being an obvious exception).
 

Dave

Staff member
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#26
She kept trying to grapple. She'd miss, get rocked, then go right back in. It's like she learned nothing from the last time. You don't play to your opponent's strengths like that or you get TKO in the first round.
 
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#27
She basically was top dog in a new division until real fighters started rolling in. She's good on the floor but she can't brawl and if you can't brawl you can't take your opponents down and her 2 matches ended the same way, completely dominated in embarrassing fashion.
 
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#28
She kept trying to grapple. She'd miss, get rocked, then go right back in. It's like she learned nothing from the last time. You don't play to your opponent's strengths like that or you get TKO in the first round.
10 seconds in and I was like, "she's doing what she did against Holmes, is she stupid?"
 
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#29
She basically was top dog in a new division until real fighters started rolling in.
I don't think that's true at all. Amanda Nunes was in Strikeforce since 2011, and the UFC since 2013, right along with Rousey, and 3 of her 4 losses were definitive ones are against women who Rousey utterly trucked. Her success over the last two years comes from the sheer amount of work she's put into her grappling defense, her cardio, and her patience (she used to come out all guns firing and would run out of steam).

Holly Holm managed to look terrible against the dregs of the division, pulled off the perfect gameplan against Rousey that exposed RR completely, and then lost a frustrating fight to Tate (whom Rousey has defeated handily twice) via wrestling, and then got convincingly outworked by Shevchenko, who has a couple not-great performances of her own despite being one of the promising new contenders. That Holm's the only person up until that point who had figured out how to keep Rousey on the outside and strike at range speaks incredibly well to her discipline and training that she got from Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn for that fight.

Rousey has some very clear holes in her game that Holly exposed to everyone and a (suspected) terrible trainer, but saying that she had never fought "real fighters" before these two is a bit much, considering her previous sheer destructions include women with wins over both Nunes and Holm.
 
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#30
All I know about Rhonda Rousey is that Vin Diesel convinced her to switch servers and join his WoW guild. That's a guild I want to join.
 
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#31
I don't think she is a bad fighter, I think she just has one huge weakness that she is not doing a good job improving on.

Anyone ever play Jade Empire? Everyone always talks about how perfect and unstoppable the main character is due to his flawless fighting style, but everyone keeps sensing a weakness that isn't showing itself, until one of the big climactic moments happens when his weakness is exposed and he drops like a sack of potatos to the antagonist. Rhonda is sort of like that protagonist, the cat is out of the bag now on her weakness, and no matter how good of a fighter she is in other styles, until she improves in her weak area, people are going to keep exploiting it because it's just that big of a opening.
 
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#32
I don't think she is a bad fighter, I think she just has one huge weakness that she is not doing a good job improving on.

Anyone ever play Jade Empire? Everyone always talks about how perfect and unstoppable the main character is due to his flawless fighting style, but everyone keeps sensing a weakness that isn't showing itself, until one of the big climactic moments happens when his weakness is exposed and he drops like a sack of potatos to the antagonist. Rhonda is sort of like that protagonist, the cat is out of the bag now on her weakness, and no matter how good of a fighter she is in other styles, until she improves in her weak area, people are going to keep exploiting it because it's just that big of a opening.
Oh no fucking doubt. She's benefitted enormously from the culture of women's MMA that once upon a time basically required all the women to be brawlers in order to get attention because "women can't fight"; if you charge in brawling against an Olympic judoka, she's going to dump you on your head and take your arm, or just plain knock you out because she's insanely strong and you're right inside the space she likes to work in, even if you're the better striker. Nobody who was paying attention thought that Bethe Correia had a chance against Rousey, but in the 34 seconds that fight actually lasted while they just unloaded on each other at close range, you can actually see that Correia was clearly winning the striking exchanges until Ronda shoved her to the ground and then practically knocked her head off when she came up with her feet not set (you can't absorb head strikes with your body if your feet aren't in stance and your chin isn't tucked).

But if you don't charge in on her, as Holm and Nunes showed, the game changes entirely, because she has neither the offensive striking skills to move in with strikes, nor the defensive ones to evade while moving in to grapple.

There's a pretty big sense on different MMA sites that every fighter who has spent real time at Glendale Fight Club has declined. It's the kind of observation that has a whole lot of confirmation bias built-in, so that's not easily assessed, but the circumstantial evidence definitely seems to be piling up (Travis Browne and Jake Ellenberger certainly seem to have both lost a lot of their striking dynamism while getting coached by Edmond Tarverdyan).
 
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